Chicago Studies Director Chris Skrable leads an urban hike along the path of the Great Chicago Fire.

Urban Hikes and Bikes

NOTE:  Chicago Studies will be adding hikes and bikes to this list throughout the month of August, and will update this page as guides submit additional tours.  The Orientation Guidebook App will contain a full listing of opportunities...but you can register here FIRST before your favorite tours fill up!

Chicago Studies' Urban Hikes & Bikes invite participants to explore “slices of Chicago” both within and beyond Hyde Park. Hikes (usually no more than 90 minutes of walking) and bike tours are led by UChicago instructors, alums, or community partners, and offer an in-depth look at one of Chicago’s historic, cultural, or natural ecosystems.  They can also serve as a more general introduction to getting around the city and the different kinds of people who study it at and in collaboration with UChicago.

Learn more about this year's Urban Hikes & Bikes below.  Click on any title or image to learn more and register (via Eventbrite).

Left: Great Chicago Fire Urban Hike with Chicago Studies' Chris Skrable

2023 O-Week and Fall Excursions

Urban Hike: Chicago's Downtown Loop (9/23)

Knock some of downtown Chicago's most famous sites off your to-do list with our Loop walking tour, led by UChicago's Chicago trivia champ Alex Bean!  Register here!

Urban Hike: Untidy Arts in Woodlawn (9/23)

Walk the practice of artist Amber Ginsburg beginning at Untidy Objects, a living sculpture created with Sara Black, Samantha Frost, and UChicago students. Register here!

Urban Bike: Historic Campus Neighborhoods (9/23)

Explore the historic neighborhoods around campus by bike with William Nickell, instructor of the bike-based class "Riding About the South Side." Register here!

Urban Hike: Rainbow Beach Dunes (9/23)

Hike through beach, wetland, and dune habitats and witness the blending of city and nature at Rainbow Beach Dunes with UChicago's Alison Anastasio. Register here!

Urban Hike: Palmisano Park Nature Hike (9/23)

Join us for a birding excursion with UChicago alumn and head of the Chicago Ornithological Society, Edward Warden, in Palmisano Park. No prior experience necessary! Register here!

Looking west down 55th St. in Hyde Park from Lake Park Blvd., ca. 1959.

Urban Hike: Century on 55th St Pt 1 - Hyde Park (9/23)

A block-by-block examination of the ways UChicago re-shaped Hyde Park to resist racial and economic change, led by student researchers from the Co55 project. Register here!

Urban Hike: Century on 55th St Pt 2 - Washington Park (9/23)

A walk down Garfield Boulevard -- booming rail yard, inter-racial jazz district, home to "the Projects," and center for arts activism -- with students from the Co55 project. Register here!

Urban Bike: South Shore Bicycle Works Community Garden Tours (9/23 OR 9/25)

Join the South Shore Bicycle Works for an awesome morning exploring South Shore's community garden scene on two wheels. Register for 9/23 here and 9/25 here!

Urban Hike: Beach Birding on Chicago's Southshore Parks (9/25)

Get up close and personal with some of the wildlife that shares your new home, led by UChicago alum and Chicago Ornithological Society President Edward Warden. No prior experience necessary! Register here!

Urban Hike: Chicago's Chinatown (9/25)

Explore the vibrant streets (and sample the flavors) of Chicago's Chinatown with UChicago's Crystal Bae and Cate Fugazzola. Register here!

A sketch of the earliest fusion experiments under Stagg Field.

Urban Hike: Hyde Park's Atomic Village (9/25)

Explore the footprint of Hyde Park's Atomic Village (home of the Manhattan Project dramatized in "Oppenheimer") with UChicago's Mark Hansen. Register here!

Campus map

Urban Hike: Olmsted on Campus (9/25)

Explore sites on campus that showcase the legacy and influence of Frederick Law Olmsted, founder of American landscape architecture, with student historian C. Hugh. Register here!

Urban Hike: Understanding Chicago (9/25)

A 3-mile walk through the neighborhoods around campus that intertwines the histories of the city, the University, and our surrounding communities with Chicago Studies' Chris Skrable. Register here!

Urban Hike: Southeast, City within a City (9/30)

Walk the streets of Southeast, Chicago's once-proud Steel Town, with Steven Walsh, a documentarian and  activist  working to rekindle its spirit. The tour will include art-making with Southeast's Roman Villarreal at Studio 93, and lunch by a local chef. Register here!

Painting of the Great Chicago Fire

Urban Hike: Chicago's Great Fire (10/1)

Walk the story of the Great Fire of 1871 from Mrs. O'Leary's barn through downtown to Lincoln Park on the North Side with Chicago Studies' Chris Skrable. Extra-long hike - over six miles of walking. Register here!

Urban Hike: Chicago's Wild Mile (10/7)

Walk along the Chicago River and explore the Wild Mile, a living laboratory for research, innovation, and conservation efforts, with some of its creators. Register here!

Urban Hike: Chicago's Riverwalk (10/13)

Join us on Friday, October 13 to explore Chicago's Riverwalk with Prof. Sabina Shaikh. Register here!

Dean Boyer leads a South Side History Bike Tour

Urban Bike: South Side History Tour (10/14)

Join former College Dean John Boyer, Professor Mark Hansen, and Professor Terry Clark (all avid bikers) for a ride to ten historically significant spots on the South Side. Register here!

Urban Hike: Spooky Chicago (10/20) 🎃

Walk the haunted streets of the City of Sin by night with Chicago Studies' Chris Skrable to learn the bizarre-but-"true" histories of some of Chicago's most famous hauntings, villains, and ne'er-do-wells. Register here if you dare!

Urban Hike: Pilsen under Pressure TBD

Explore food, cultural sites, and activism in a Mexican immigrant neighborhood threatened by gentrification with human rights lawyer, alum, and senior lecturer Susan Gzesh.  Registration coming soon!

Urban Hike: Lakeview's Japanese American History TBD

Learn the history of Chicago's post-internment Japanese-American neighborhood in Lakeview with UChicago's Michael Bourdaghs and Erik Matsunaga. Register here!

Adventure Resources